Assessing technologies when it matters the most: A methodological framework to perform ex-ante LCA on innovative concrete technologies. 01/11/2020 - 31/10/2021

Abstract

Due to the large environmental impact of concrete, a high demand exists for innovative concrete technologies. In order to evaluate and improve the environmental performance of these innovative technologies, a quantitative environmental assessment method such as a life cycle assessment (LCA) needs to be performed. The majority of LCA studies are applied after the technology has been fully developed. At this stage any change made to the technology will cost a substantial amount of money and effort. Its more beneficial to perform an LCA on the technology during the development stage instead. Here the goal is to predict what the environmental impact of the technology will be when it reaches an industrial scale. Performing such a future orientated LCA, also called ex-ante LCA, can greatly help with improving the technology throughout the development process. This grants the developers insight on how each design choice will impact the environmental performance of the technology. The big challenge of performing an ex-ante LCA is making a valuable assessment on the expected environmental impact of the fully developed technology at a time where little data is available. This project will focus on creating a methodology to perform ex-ante LCA on emerging concrete technologies by theoretically upscaling the emerging technology to an industrial scale and taking into account changes to the incumbent technology and background system.

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